United Nations Editorial Manual Online
Direct quotations should reproduce the original text exactly and should be carefully checked for accuracy. Only the following changes are permitted:
Sources must be provided for all quotations. When the source is a United Nations document, paragraph numbers, not pages, should be cited. For information on the citation of sources, see Footnotes and other references.
Most of the rules set out below apply to English only.
Quoted words, sentences and paragraphs are enclosed within double quotation marks. Single quotation marks are used to enclose quotations within quotations.
For quotations within quotations within quotations, use double quotation marks.
Double quotation marks are also used around specialized terms when they are first introduced and defined. Thereafter, these words should be written without quotation marks.
Whether double or single quotation marks are needed, editors and text-processing staff should ensure that directional (or smart) quotation marks, also called curly quotation marks, are used (see also Editorial guidelines/Style/Punctuation).
If a quotation forms an essential grammatical part of a sentence, it begins with a lower-case letter and the final punctuation is placed outside the quotation marks.
A quotation consisting of one or more complete sentences is normally introduced by a colon and begins with a capital letter. The final punctuation is placed inside the quotation marks when it coincides with the end of the sentence.
Quotations that consist of a complete paragraph or more than five typed lines are normally set off as an indented block of text.
It is standard publishing practice to eliminate quotation marks at the beginning and end of a block quotation. In United Nations documents, however, quotation marks may be used where necessary for the sake of clarity – for example, where the quoted material exceeds a page and it is difficult to see that the material is indented or where the quoted material contains a separate set of paragraph numbers.
If it is necessary to use quotation marks in a block quotation, insert them at the beginning of each paragraph and subparagraph, before headings included in the quoted matter and at the end of the last paragraph. Quotation marks are not inserted before ellipsis points that mark omitted paragraphs (see Omissions below).
Ellipsis points (dots) are used to mark omissions within a quotation. It is not normally necessary to use ellipsis points for omissions at the beginning or end of a quotation. Three ellipsis points (…) are used for omissions within a sentence and between complete sentences. To indicate the omission of one or more paragraphs within a block quotation, insert the ellipsis points on a separate line of text and align them with the normal paragraph indents.
Footnotes contained within quotations are omitted unless the meaning or purpose of the quotation would be obscured without the footnote. If the footnote must be retained, keep the original footnote number and place the footnote directly below the quotation, separated by a 10-space line. The final quotation marks should follow the footnote.
Short passages from resolutions and decisions or from previously issued reports are normally presented as indirect quotations and are therefore not enclosed in quotation marks. It may be necessary to change the verb tenses in the indirect quotation to make them consistent with the rest of the text. While wording that is not strictly relevant to the context may be omitted, the indirect quotation should nevertheless adhere as closely as possible to the original text. For additional information and examples, see Style/Indirect or reported speech.
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